Towards the Establishment of WBF
Western Balkans Fund (WBF) is created, as an all-inclusive regional initiative, through which, participating parties commit their own resources to finance regional projects and for supporting the overall development and cooperation of the civil society organizations in the Western Balkans.
WBF has a special identity, emphasized by its main mission: Promotion of regional cooperation and cohesion, integration in the European Union and common presentation in third parties. WBF aims at strengthening “people-to-people” contacts in areas such as culture, education, research, environment, cross-border cooperation and youth, etc.
The support of regional civil society projects constitutes the essence of WBF; Grant – Giving is the mechanism that will be used to achieve this goal.
Achievements during 2016
After the signing of the Agreement for the establishment of WBF (Prague, November 2015), the efforts are concentrated on creating the necessary legal and structural bases for making the Fund operational.
During this period the activities of the preparatory phase have contributed to create the foundations for the structures of WBF and to prepare the background documents for its future activities.
Fully aware of the legal constrains reflecting the reality on which the WBF preparatory phase is operating, all Contracting Parties, have shown strong political will to further develop and sustain the vision embodied in the entire WBF concept.
Ratification procedures are completed by all Contracting Parties. The allocation of contributions for 2016 is completed and the contributions for 2017 are under processing.
Since the mid-2016, WBF Secretariat offices are operational and fully equipped. With a special decision of the Government of Albania, the offices are given as an “in-kind” contribution to the Fund, for a 5 years period. Two employees are working full time, performing secretarial duties and keeping the communication with the stakeholders, constituting the core of the future Secretariat.
The representatives of the Contracting Parties to the WBF Council of Senior Officials are appointed.
Several Meetings of CSO have been organized and important decisions are taken, including the approval of the legal beckground documents regulating the functioning of WBF structures; The Secretariat has participated in many activities aiming to increase the visibility of the WBF such as: interviews, communications with the media, participation in the conferences and meetings etc. The Fund’s logo is created (you can find more about the process by clicking HERE) the professional email accounts were installed, and also WBF has established a good cooperation with the International Visegrad Fund (IVF), especially as regards capacity building and preparation of necessary legal and technical documents. Common activities are organized and are planned for the future, in the view of the implementation of the WBF Plan of Action during the preparatory phase.
The objective of the WBF Secretariat is to organize the official Launching Event for the Fund’s activities. After it, the Call for regional projects, will take place, at the beginning of September 2017.
The realization of such objective will require, among others, the preparation of both human capacities and the background documents, such as: Grant Rules and Guidelines, Call for Proposals Template, Evaluation Criteria, and Application Form Template, etc. In close cooperation with Albanian authorities, the Host country Agreement between WBF and Republic of Albania is also under preparation.